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One fine morning, Benno finds sand in his bed. While he tries to ignore this at first, he soon must realize that he himself is loosing the sand. Day after day the sand increases and soon his time literally starts running short. Finally he is left no choice but to ask Sandra for help, who runs a small coffee shop under his apartment. Although Benno hates her with a passion, he started having dreams of her every night. What could Sandra and the dreams have to do with the sand?Written by
The Sandman wakes up to discover - no not that he has turned into a giant vermin - but that he is turning into sand.
Benno (Fabian Krüger) wakes up every morning to discover - no not that he has turned into a giant vermin - but that he is turning into sand.
What makes a work Kafkaesque? The lack of reasonable explanation for events, the deliberate way the narrative eschews our expectations of character and plot, the absurdism of the situation, and possibly, the sense of deeper symbolism behind the story. Despite appearances, this film is not Kafkaesque. It is an extremely well-made film, highly stylistic, and shot with care, but it is no Kafka.
There is a scene which inadvertently gives this secret away. Benno visits his psychiater and explains to him "I am loosing sand". The psychiater rubs his chin and replies something to the effect of, "that is a very good metaphor".
"But I really am loosing sand!" Benno exclaims, "I'm not using a metaphor."
The psychiater looks curiously at Benno, pauses, and slowly replies: "Hmmm, that is a very good image."
This film is indeed a very good image - but aside from its absurdity I can detect no underlying meaning. Is the subtext that distressed classical musicians should never give up? That we should be true to our dreams, lest our corporeal forms disintegrate like grains blown apart by the winds of the world? I should hope not. I doubt if Kafka wrote this he would write up an ending as neatly packaged and satisfying as the one we are asked to accept.
This is really, at the end of the day, more of a light-hearted comedic romp. It is the Swiss equivalent Jim Carrey's usual story arc in a film like Yes Man or Liar Liar. (This will ring nostalgic once it is revealed the mechanics of the Sandman's condition.) Visually, there are some stunningly conceived dream sequences here, delicately shot with a soft sun-baked palette. There are a fair few laughs in it too. But don't expect not to expect an explanation - this is no film of Kafka; Benno is no Gregor Samsa.
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